Monday 22 January 2018

'Fingal People's Bank' proposed by councillor

A giant 'people's bank' from Germany is looking to enter the Irish market and Fingal would make an ideal home for the bank's first foray into Ireland if the council decides to pursue a pilot scheme put forward by a local councillor.

Sparkassen Bank have over 233,000 employees in Germany and over 14,500 branches and 403 savings bank so the size of the opportunity for Fingal is considerable, if the bank can be attracted to the region.

To that end, Cllr Tom O'Leary (FG) is proposing the council investigate the possibility of establishing a Fingal People's Bank.

The bank operates in a similar way to credit unions as Cllr O'Leary described: 'The model is people focused old fashioned reliable banking, where the banker has a personal relationship with the customer.

'It's not profit driven, money is lent at discounted rates and any profit made is reinvested in the local region. In infrastructure projects, community projects and helping business grow in the local region.'

Explaining where the idea came from, Cllr O'Leary said: 'I attended a recent rural regeneration conference in Clare where I had the pleasure of hearing a very positive interesting presentation from a representative of the largest bank in Germany - a people's bank which has 60% share of the market. This model obviously works and is a proven reliable banking model.'

He added: 'Sparkassen Bank had no problems with the banking crash that affected other banks. It appears to be a similar model to our credit unions…but with a focus on local small and medium business's and indeed large local businesses. It's owned by the people - the savers in the bank.'

Cllr O'Leary said: 'I am calling on Fingal County Council to investigate the possibility of starting a pilot project in Fingal. Fingal is a perfect fit for the German Sparkassen Peoples Bank model, where a population of 300,000 is required to open a regional Bank.

'Fingal's diverse business, urban and rural character is ideal for a bank like this. The current duopoly banking system where effectively two banks in Ireland control the retail small business banking market needs to be challenged .

He said: 'This type of bank would provide prudent lending and credit to small builders for example to build in Fingal where we have a large landbank waiting for construction to commence.'

Fingal Independent

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